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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
At the recent CEDIA conference there were some positive announcements regarding CableCARDS. Originally these tuners were only offered by ATI (later AMD), required the purchase of a special PC running Vista and had DRM up the wazoo. Sales of these PCs seemed to be rather anemic as Dell and HP both stopped offering this tuner as an option - presumably because sales were so poor.

The changes include being able to add a CableCARD tuner to an existing PC and a lessening of some of the DRM. Switched digital video will now be supported. A company called Ceton is going to be offering a CableCARD tuner that can record four channels simultaneously. Hauppauge, the maker of several other TV tuners for PCs, has announced that they will also come out with a CableCARD tuner.

On the downside so far it still looks like Windows 7 (or Vista) Media Center will be the only software that will work with these tuners.

Ordinarily this would be great news, but unless Canadian cable companies ever decide to offer CableCARD to their customers we are out of luck. It sure would be nice if the CRTC would take some action to support consumers and give them a choice when it comes to PVR'ing cable - right now your only options are the cable companies DVRs (which are pretty crappy across the board) or a Hauppauge HD-PVR based PC solution which requires one tuner and cable box per channel.
 

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It sure would be nice if the CRTC would take some action to support consumers and give them a choice when it comes to PVR'ing cable
Why blame the failure of CableCard on the CRTC? The whole initiative was a miserable failure for all the reasons which have been discussed here many times before.

I'm no fan of the CRTC but lets put the blame for the failure of CableCard where it belongs, on the shoulders of the CE industry and the CableCard consortium.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Why blame the failure of CableCard on the CRTC? The whole initiative was a miserable failure for all the reasons which have been discussed here many times before.

I'm no fan of the CRTC but lets put the blame for the failure of CableCard where it belongs, on the shoulders of the CE industry and the CableCard consortium.
I am not blaming the CRTC for the failure of CableCARDs, I am blaming the CRTC for not allowing Canadians to even try out a CableCARD to see if it would be of use.

Assuming that you can get a CableCARD tuner working properly, which apparently has been a big "if", then it can be a very good solution. I have turned away from Windows Media Center to Sage but the prospect of having a tuner that can record four cable channels at once is pretty enticing.

And now that the hurdle for getting a CableCARD PC is going down, since you won't have to puy a whole new PC and DRM levels are going down, so it would be nice to have the option.

Sorry if this last bit is getting OT but the CRTC has not shown itself to look out for consumers - they should be requiring basic cable channels to be in unencrypted QAM, requiring active firewire ports, have rules about CGMS-A flags, rules on 5C, etc.
 

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they should be requiring basic cable channels to be in unencrypted QAM
I am blaming the CRTC for not allowing (I assume you mean mandating since it was certainly allowed) Canadians to even try out a CableCARD to see if it would be of use
Both of these, if mandated would increase the cost of services from service providers. As stated by Hugh, CableCARD was a huge failure in the US and cost every customer who had to purchase a CableCARD-equipped HDTV about $100, when only 1% of users ended up using CableCARD. Due to the FCC ruling on CableCARDs, cable service providers had to also spend millions, if not billions to satisfy a very small percentage of users who wanted CableCARD. That ship sailed and sank.

Unencrypted QAM would also subsidize people who don't get a STB from the service provider. I don't want to subsidize unencrypted QAM, thank you very much. There are very few people who would be happy solely with the "OTA-type" channels if they're with a service provider.

Both of these issues have been discussed on this forum ad nauseum but I guess we need to go through it again at least once a year??? There are people who seem to think they can get things for free, but that's not the case in this marketplace. I'm very glad with the position that the CRTC and the service providers have taken on both these issues. I realize that there are a select few customers who are not.

Let's see if Tru2Way goes anywhere. If not, then you can kiss CableCARD and the various clones goodbye forever.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
To be honest I only care about CableCARDs from the perspective of having PVR options other than a Rogers 8300HD (or whatever it is for other cable providers) such as a TiVo or a PC based PVR, which is why I posted in the HTPC forum.

But I don't think CableCARD is dead yet with these announcements in the last week so I don't know that it is true to say that the ship has sunk. Microsoft seems to think it has some life. That's why I started this thread as this is new information as to why a Canadian cable consumer would care about CableCARD and why I wish Rogers would rent (or sell) me one. I am guessing that I am not the only one - just like I am not the only one here using the HD-PVR connected to an HD box in Canada.

Why would unencrypted QAM subsidize anyone if the only channels available were the ones that are available on basic cable such as CBC, CTV, Global, etc. You have to pay for Basic cable to get these channels so if you have cable in your house then you have paid for them - I am not asking for anything for free. Rogers has been subsidizing cable box owners for years - I bought several SA3200s years ago for $100 less 10x$10/month off my cable bill.

And this would mean that those who only wanted Basic cable would not need a STB to get HD channels, assuming that the HD channels were part of Basic cable. I disagree that there are very few people that only want these channels - Rogers offers 20 HD channels as part of their digital basic (which inludes three VCC channels). Many folks buy an HDTV and want HD content but don't want a box. But my main reason for wanting this unencrypted is once again to facilitate external PVRs - such as PC based PVRs.

It is also more environmentally friendly to not need a cable box ;-)
 

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ClearQAM? I have to agree with Wayne on this one. I have a few TV's in my home and don't necessarily want to have all my Premium channels on all of them. So far I have 2 STB's and use analog for the rest.

For example, on my Kitchen Television (which has a built in QAM turner), we predominately watch network news for an hour or two a day. I refuse to rent an additional STB just for this, and then have to find some way to mount it on or near the wall where I have it. I don't have an easy way to run an outdoor antenna. So, I'm using analogue cable, which we all know is using up large amounts of bandwith and forces Rogers to overcompress many digital stations.

In all fairness, I think that basic cable should include anything that is available unencrypted over the air (NTSC and ATSC). Rogers (backed by the CRTC) has developed a clever way to split up it's charges over so many baskets, that it gets the opportunity to apply a discount on one piece but not the whole thing.
 

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Please lets stick to the topic at hand which is CableCard not whether Rogers should have clearQAM.
 

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Please allow the answer to this question, or split QAM posts to an unencrypted QAM thread.
...Why would unencrypted QAM subsidize anyone... You have to pay for Basic cable to get these channels
No you don't, with cable to the home for Home Phone or Internet, people could just add a splitter and "obtain" these signals. There is no (economical) blocking of unencrypted QAM. People could also ask for CSR assistance regarding unencrypted QAM issues, which would cost (paying customers) money.
 

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I have been hoping for a long, long time that Rogers will some day support CableCARD. Obviously I'm also interested from an HTPC perspective, being able to cut out the cable boxes would be huge.

By all accounts Rogers' network is compatible with with CableCARD, offering it as an unadvertised option would seem like it wouldn't be too difficult.

When you say that it didn't work in the US, remember that the cable companies did nothing to try and make it work too. They would rather sell the boxes and so many people still don't know the option even exists. There is very little in this for Rogers and a lot to lose, so I don't see them adopting it any time soon, but I still hold out hope.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Technically the US cable companies wanted to rent boxes - I don't believe US cable companies sell boxes, they only allow customers to rent which is different from Rogers.
 

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the issue with cable cards are the fact that they are poorly exicuted, i worked for a US cable company and i'd get 5 calls a day for the LA area and very few could actually get a cable card because they weren't enabled for msot areas.

People want cable cards and they're a good product for what HTPC want, the fact that i have to pay $13 + $200 per channel i want in HD in my htpc is crazy
 

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But the poorly executed is on the part of the cablecos, they want this thing to die so they can ignore it.
Sigh, that's simply not true. If a card can reduce the need for a cable box, the cableco's don't have a problem. They subsidize boxes so cards would reduce their costs.

The problem is that CableCard was a miserable flop.

here is one of our first threads on the topic

Five Reasons NOT to buy an HDTV with Cablecard

Note the date on the thread December 2004!

Anyone who thinks its the CRTC/Rogers etc fault, please read the article in Link #1 of that thread.

I said then

I think the idea is sound but the implementation and the functionality to date has been such that I think most consumers should not bother with it.
This had nothing to do with Rogers or anyone else. The technology was a miserable piece of junk. Tru2Way didn't arrive for another FOUR YEARS and even then it still didn't address all of the issues identified in 2004!

Blaming the CRTC and Rogers for CableCard's flop is ridiculous.
 

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Sigh, that's simply not true. If a card can reduce the need for a cable box, the cableco's don't have a problem. They subsidize boxes so cards would reduce their costs.
That's not true either. If the CableCARDs replicated the digital boxes then cablecos might be ok with them. But the cablecos can't push their VOD and PPV services with CableCARD. They can't make you look at what is on the channels you don't get. Because of this they never liked CableCARD, they intentionally don't push it, they don't try and explain it to consumers, and they frequently try and make it hard for you to get it.

However, that is the exact reason I want it. In that CNet article the writer focuses on only part of the market. His friend made a foolish mistake, he bought without researching first. CableCARD in his TV is not for him. However, for senior citizens who can't handle a digital box it's a brilliant solution. Integrated into the TV, no complicated guide or confusing VOD or DVR.

For those who hate the cableco box it's brilliant for the TiVo integration. And on topic, for the HTPC market it's a dream come true.
 

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Some of those points are moot for the HTPC setup.

EPG is done though the internet anyways (plus Eastlink's is constantly wrong)
Ondemand - Eastlink hasn't brought it up here anyways (stupid eastlink....)
Cost - DVR on TWC LA is 6.50 equipment + 10 dvr a cable card is 1.75


the reason i Time warner la is because they have cable cards were no canadian company does so i can't say what they'd charge

I don't know whos to blame for this but i want cablecards damnit! the fact that extenders can be used so i can have one computer in the basement and feed mine and my roommates 360s with tv and videos as well have a much large dvr

I know there are other options but HD with the other options aren't that cheap

(HD cable boxs are $13 each up here)
 

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But the cablecos can't push their VOD and PPV services with CableCARD.
Consumers will decide if they want to order VOD. Since 2004, VOD has grown dramatically. Cablecard couldn't handle VOD and PPV despite years of promising so don't blame Rogers and the CRTC for the CE industry colossal failure.

the reason i Time warner la is because they have cable cards were no canadian company does so i can't say what they'd charge
taichan, I have no idea what you are saying.

Signing off guys because this thread is the same stuff we've argued every year for the last six years.

Talk to me when CableCard actually comes up with a working cost effective technology that is proven to work!
 

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To me, CableCards, STBs, and DCTs are all the same. Either way, I'd have to buy or rent one for every tuner that I own. I think the only market for cableCards is in the ATI OCUR PC tuners. The Canadian HTPC market is too small to warrant cable companies supporting it. Which is why, I think the only real alternative is clearQAM.

There is no way that manufacturing, installing and maintaining a DCT is cheaper than providing a clearQAM signal. Especially for the the basic cable tier which is only SDTV. Digital broadcast equipment is cheaper, more reliable and energy efficient than the analog cable equipment it replaces. All of the programming originates and is distributed digitally. Finally, digital distribution is the most efficient use of their copper, giving them greater bandwidth for more channels. All in all this adds up to huge savings for the cable companies. So, encrypting and adding a DCT is an unnecessary added cost. ClearQAM would save them money and save me money. Since the vast majority of customers subscribe to basic analog service, its obvious that they are the ones subsidizing those digital DCTs.

You'd think that providing better picture for less money would give them a clear competitive advantage. Imagine Shaw undercutting phone and satellite services with a digital version of their existing basic analog tier. That's 50+ channels of SDTV programming, 3 free outlets and no set top box.

But this isn't a competitive market which is why the CRTC needs to step in and advocate for us consumers.
 

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But that's exactly my point, the cablecos want to push their VOD services but CableCARD won't support it, thus they won't push CableCARD. But that's an issue for the cablecos and not consumers. I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who want to order VOD but I am not one of them so CableCARD targets me.

It essentially allows for unencrypted QAM but without the unencrypted part, which solves the problem both for those calling for clearQAM and the cablecos concerns with stopping piracy. But just like clearQAM when you connect it directly to your TV it won't offer everything that a digital box will offer.

Your arguments on why the technology is a failure seem to be based around the fact that it can't do everything that a digital box can, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't have a market. There is little argument that an SA8300HD is better than an SA4250 and yet Rogers still sells them both. There are some people who don't need DVR support, just like there are some people that don't need EPGs or VOD. For those people CableCARD is not a failure or inadequate, it is exactly what we want.

Edit: This post was meant to respond to hugh (post#18)
 
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